Active Ingredient History
Pentostatin, also known as 2’-deoxycoformycin (DCF) under the trade name Nipent, is a potent inhibitor of the enzyme adenosine deaminase and is isolated from fermentation cultures of Streptomyces antibioticus. It was developed by Parke-Davis (now Pfizer) and the National Cancer Institute in the US. Nipent is indicated as single-agent treatment for both untreated and alpha-interferon-refractory hairy cell leukemia patients with active disease as defined by clinically significant anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, or disease-related symptoms. Pentostatin is a potent transition state inhibitor of the enzyme adenosine deaminase (ADA). The greatest activity of ADA is found in cells of the lymphoid system with T-cells having higher activity than B-cells, and T-cell malignancies having higher ADA activity than B-cell malignancies. Pentostatin inhibition of ADA, particularly in the presence of adenosine or deoxyadenosine, leads to cytotoxicity, and this is believed to be due to elevated intracellular levels of dATP, which can block DNA synthesis through inhibition of ribonucleotide reductase. Pentostatin can also inhibit RNA synthesis as well as cause increased DNA damage. In addition to elevated dATP, these mechanisms may also contribute to the overall cytotoxic effect of pentostatin. The precise mechanism of pentostatin’s antitumor effect, however, in hairy cell leukemia is not known. In several instances, hepatic toxicity from pentostatin appeared to be somewhat dose related, suggesting that the liver injury is a direct effect of the purine analogue. Because pentostatin is a potent immunosuppressive agent, the possibility exists that some cases of hepatic injury are due to reactivation of hepatitis B or other opportunistic infections. While pentostatin has not been shown to cause reactivation of hepatitis B, there is a strong possibility that it might induce this syndrome, and several cases of hepatic injury during pentostatin therapy were described as due to concurrent hepatitis B. NCATS
Drug Pricing (per unit)
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